As an attorney who practices personal injury and automobile accident law in Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach Counties, the question I hear all the time is, what about the $10,000 I get even if the accident was my fault? In the South Florida area, anyone who listens to the local radio or watches daytime television is inundated with advertisements from lawyers, doctors, and these misleading referral services. These advertisers make promises like the statement above, misleading the public into thinking that just because they were in a car accident, they immediately and automatically get $10,000 cash in their pockets. The truth is, this advertising and is completely misleading and in many case, completely untrue.
The Florida legislature enacted laws that now require all drivers in Florida to carry a minimum of $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection Insurance (PIP), with a maximum deductible of $2,000. The purpose of the requirement is to have all drivers and their passengers at least minimally covered for injuries suffered as a result of a motor vehicle accident. The $10,000 personal injury protection insurance policy is intended to provide protection as well as peace of mind for the insured. Another reason is that it also relieves taxpayers from shouldering the burden of caring for injured drivers and passengers, who do not otherwise have health care insurance and thus would not be able to pay there emergency room or hospital bills. For a full discussion on who is covered under the PIP Policy, click here
These TV and radio advertisements basically insinuate that you just “get” this $10,000 in your pocket. In reality, if you are in an accident, whether it was your fault or not, your PIP policy will pay up to $10,000 of your MEDICAL BILLS. This money will be paid directly to the doctor, after you have paid your deductible, if any. This money for the medical bills and doctors does not go in your pocket.
Another provision of the PIP policy is that it may cover your expenses if you where unable to work and thus lost monies in salary or pay as a result of this accident. This could be a significant amount in some instances, but in most cases it is typically minimal.
The bottom line is, that in most situations, you will not receive significant funds in your pocket from PIP insurance alone. This money will go directly to the doctors or hospitals. The advertisements you hear on TV and radio are mostly a trick by attorneys, Doctors, and Referral services to get you in their office. To recover money for your pain and suffering and injuries, you have to make a Bodily injury claim against the insurance company of the person who hit you and was at fault for the accident. The attorney’s at Berman & Tsombanakis LLC are experienced and aggressive attorneys who can assist you with these type of claims.